Red Devils to step up pursuit of in-demand Schalke star.
Manchester United are ready to compete with Arsenal and Chelsea for the signing of highly-rated Schalke youngster Julian Draxler this January, CaughtOffside understands.
The Red Devils are short of quality in the attacking midfield department, and will enter the market for a big-money signing this January after missing out on the likes of Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas during the summer.
Following the retirement of Paul Scholes at the end of last season, new manager David Moyes has been keen to bring in a top class replacement in that area, though he only managed to bring in Marouane Fellaini from Everton on transfer deadline day.
The Belgian had a storming season for Everton last year, but has struggled to get going for United so far, and is not the type of creative midfielder the side need at the moment.
Many of the club’s fans have called for Japanese star Shinji Kagawa to be given more of a chance in that role, though it seems increasingly likely that Moyes will sell the 24-year-old back to his old club Borussia Dortmund to help fund a move for his main target Draxler.
The 20-year-old is widely regarded as one of the best young players in the world, and Schalke have previously said they would demand around £60m for his signature, though United are confident that a deal can be done at closer to £40m.
The German international has been a regular for Schalke since 2010, and has amassed over 100 appearances for the club already, scoring 24 goals. He also has seven caps for his national side, despite fierce competition from other world class stars in that position.
Arsenal and Chelsea are also desperate to land him this January, with Arsene Wenger particularly keen to get Draxler linking up with his fellow countryman Mesut Ozil, who signed for the Gunners from Real Madrid in a club-record £42.4m deal.
Draxler would be a similarly ambitious signing for the north London club, who can now enjoy a greater amount of funds in the transfer market, though United hope their recent success can prove something of a pull in their direction in persuading the youngster to choose a move to Old Trafford instead.
The player himself has previously stated his desire to stay with Schalke for the time being, as he wants to be guaranteed regular playing time to put him into contention for a place in the Germany squad for next summer’s World Cup in Brazil, though he admitted rejecting a move to a bigger club would be difficult.